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View Full Version : What kind of security measures protect nuclear warheads



RainyDayNinja
02-25-2011, 09:54 PM
I need my characters to steal a nuclear warhead to stop the alien invasion, and they have some futuristic technology at their disposal, but I'm not sure what kind of obstacles they'll run into. Obviously, the security measures for the US nuclear arsenal aren't public knowledge, but I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction for coming up with something realistic.

Specifically, they're trying to get a W80 warhead (from an AGM-129 cruise missile for B-52H bombers) from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. Also, the alien invasion has already begun at this point, so it's likely that a lot of the bombers and warheads are in the process of being scrambled/activated/whatever, which might make it easier or harder. Any ideas? Thanks a lot!

jclarkdawe
02-25-2011, 10:14 PM
You might want to read The Benedict Arnold Connection (http://www.amazon.com/Benedict-Arnold-Connection-Joseph-Dimona/dp/0440109353/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298657581&sr=1-1) which involves stealing nuclear warheads from Minot.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Drachen Jager
02-25-2011, 10:15 PM
Do a google search, see how soon the FBI comes knocking. :)

Seriously though, a group of armed soldiers with a direct communication line to call for backup, probably if the line is cut or the signal is lost backup would be sent in any case. They would be behind solid steel doors with security cameras all around. I am guessing to get in or out there would be an 'airlock' style entry, where anybody entering the bunker would enter one door, close that door, and be checked out while in between doors before being allowed to enter the next door.

This is all top secret stuff though, if anyone knew they'd go to jail for telling, so you are allowed some artistic freedom. The above is based on speculation and time in the military.

WriteKnight
02-25-2011, 10:32 PM
Inside job. You need to have the Pilot of the B52 on your side. He'll have access, codes and controls. Have him land at a remote location. Of course, you've got the crew to overcome as well.

That's not to mention the difficult with REMOVING said missile from the B52, or subsequently removing the warhead. Experts. Tons of experts who have been TRAINED in these procedures - so all ex-military or defense contractors.

Is your 'heroes team' made up of these people?

movieman
02-25-2011, 10:36 PM
I'm sure I read a post on another forum by a Royal Air Force guy who said he was once left to guard a bomber loaded with live nuclear weapons and the best weapon they could find for him was a pickaxe handle.

Wasn't there also a case a few years back of live nuclear weapons being loaded on a B-52 by mistake, and then the plane left parked empty for several hours before anyone realised?

Of course even if your character did manage to steal it, they'd need to arm it, which would require relevant codes or some detailed knowledge of how the system worked in order to hack it. Those won't be easy to come by either.

Could they somehow reprogram the missile to crash-land at a spot where they could remove the warhead, after it was launched? Something like that may be easier plot-wise.

RainyDayNinja
02-25-2011, 10:49 PM
Unfortunately, my "heroes team" doesn't have any inside experts. It consists of Nazi superscientists (fresh out of hiding from their secret moon base), a CIA agent assigned to help rehabilitate them, and an alien PR expert. But they do have access to advanced technology like invisibility, specialized nanobots (I'm trying to keep them limited as much as possible), and limited teleportation.

Drachen Jager
02-25-2011, 11:53 PM
Unfortunately, my "heroes team" doesn't have any inside experts. It consists of Nazi superscientists (fresh out of hiding from their secret moon base), a CIA agent assigned to help rehabilitate them, and an alien PR expert. But they do have access to advanced technology like invisibility, specialized nanobots (I'm trying to keep them limited as much as possible), and limited teleportation.

That might be enough to manage it. If it were me, I would simply design the hardest possible nut to crack. Think it through, using current technology and extensive but not quite unlimited funds what would you do to guard a nuke? Your guys seem to have enough tricks up their sleeves to pull it off.

As commented above sometimes nukes are left poorly guarded, but you can never really predict when or where that might happen. When they were placing the Trident short range missiles in Germany there was at least one case where a transport got stuck, they turned a corner and ended up with the missile jammed between two buildings in a village. It was there for nearly a day with only a dozen or so men guarding it before they demolished one of the buildings to get it out.

PeterL
02-26-2011, 12:30 AM
While there are wonderful security protocols, I am sure that the wort could happen. You might consider having hero just walk up to one of the B52's and tell the people onloading one of the missiles that word came through that they have to load one on your truck (be sure that the hero has a truck). The Hero could mumble some letters as to where he was from and have the guards call their CO. The CO would be afraind to do anything, so the hero would finish that call with, "Fine, we'll be finished here in a few minutes." The guards would take that as confirmation of the order.

mgencleyn
02-26-2011, 12:33 AM
As the Onion once reported, World's Nuclear Arsenal 'Pretty Much' Accounted For.

They would have better luck finding one on the black market than accessing one on a military base.

Drachen Jager
02-26-2011, 01:12 AM
As the Onion once reported, World's Nuclear Arsenal 'Pretty Much' Accounted For.

They would have better luck finding one on the black market than accessing one on a military base.

You do know the Onion is not a serious news source right?

I don't think you could buy one on the black market at any price. What would Hussein have given for one, or Bin Laden (back when he had money).

Noah Body
02-26-2011, 01:19 AM
You do know the Onion is not a serious news source right?

Well, the Chinese think it is. :D

mgencleyn
02-26-2011, 01:36 AM
You do know the Onion is not a serious news source right?
Yes.

I don't think you could buy one on the black market at any price. What would Hussein have given for one, or Bin Laden (back when he had money).
Hussein was building his own. After the first Gulf War, inspectors found a nuclear weapons facility the size of D.C. Why would he bother with the black market?

And bin Laden is actively seeking one anyway. Might already have one going, God forbid.

But yet, this all still supports my statement: it would be easier to obtain one elsewhere than to get one off a base.

Stanmiller
02-26-2011, 01:56 AM
I need my characters to steal a nuclear warhead to stop the alien invasion, and they have some futuristic technology at their disposal, but I'm not sure what kind of obstacles they'll run into. Obviously, the security measures for the US nuclear arsenal aren't public knowledge, but I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction for coming up with something realistic.

Specifically, they're trying to get a W80 warhead (from an AGM-129 cruise missile for B-52H bombers) from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. Also, the alien invasion has already begun at this point, so it's likely that a lot of the bombers and warheads are in the process of being scrambled/activated/whatever, which might make it easier or harder. Any ideas? Thanks a lot!

Buy one from the Russians. Wave enough Franklins, somebody will deliver it to your hotel.

Stan

mgencleyn
02-26-2011, 02:18 AM
I need my characters to steal a nuclear warhead to stop the alien invasion, and they have some futuristic technology at their disposal, but I'm not sure what kind of obstacles they'll run into. Obviously, the security measures for the US nuclear arsenal aren't public knowledge, but I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction for coming up with something realistic.

Specifically, they're trying to get a W80 warhead (from an AGM-129 cruise missile for B-52H bombers) from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. Also, the alien invasion has already begun at this point, so it's likely that a lot of the bombers and warheads are in the process of being scrambled/activated/whatever, which might make it easier or harder. Any ideas? Thanks a lot!

I guess a reasonable direction to try would be to have something seriously go wrong at the base, something catastrophic like a major earthquake that would expose the innards of the nuke chambers maybe?

Drachen Jager
02-26-2011, 02:30 AM
Yes.

Hussein was building his own. After the first Gulf War, inspectors found a nuclear weapons facility the size of D.C. Why would he bother with the black market?

They found a plant that was ostensibly creating chicken feed but had an awfully strange arrangement of anti-aircraft defences around it the facility was destroyed.

There never was a WMD facility of any kind in Iraq the size of D.C. You are terribly gullible if you believe that.

Iraq was never closer than 2-3 years from creating a nuclear weapon and most experts think it would have been decades at the rate they were working on it.

In any case, enough derailing the thread with conspiracy theories.

Drachen Jager
02-26-2011, 02:34 AM
I guess a reasonable direction to try would be to have something seriously go wrong at the base, something catastrophic like a major earthquake that would expose the innards of the nuke chambers maybe?

As soon as anything like that happens protocol would be for all available security forces to secure the facility.

I worked with electronics when I was in the Army and I knew a few guys who were trained to fix the cryptography machines. They told me that if they were working on the machines when a fire broke out in the building their orders were to take the service pistol (which was always in the room), step outside the room, lock the door and guard it until they were confident the fire would consume the crypto room. I am sure the protective measures for nukes go much farther than that.

mgencleyn
02-26-2011, 03:29 AM
They found a plant that was ostensibly creating chicken feed but had an awfully strange arrangement of anti-aircraft defences around it the facility was destroyed.

There never was a WMD facility of any kind in Iraq the size of D.C. You are terribly gullible if you believe that.

Iraq was never closer than 2-3 years from creating a nuclear weapon and most experts think it would have been decades at the rate they were working on it.

In any case, enough derailing the thread with conspiracy theories.

Terribly gullible? I only followed news reports. But as I wrote, again, they were working on their own.

mgencleyn
02-26-2011, 03:30 AM
As soon as anything like that happens protocol would be for all available security forces to secure the facility.

Which is why I wrote "major" earthquake. RainyDayNinja has a fiction story here.

Wicked
02-26-2011, 03:31 AM
Have you ever seen the movie Broken Arrow?

Granted, the traitor on the inside took the weapon, but he didn't take it from the base (he was supposed to be flying it out), he took it after he left base. In transit. Out far away from a couple thousand airman and soldiers with M-16s, gates, bunkers, and security fences.



Have fun writing. :D Hopefully the men in black don't come knocking on any of our doors.

WriteKnight
02-26-2011, 06:30 AM
Seriously, buying one on the black market is far more plausible than stealing one from a military crew or installation.

Works well enough for Bond.

There are corrupt people in positions of authority everywhere. And they all have a price. Have your Aliens whip up some gold with the help of 'handwavium' and you're good to go.

Bing Z
02-26-2011, 08:57 AM
Unfortunately, my "heroes team" doesn't have any inside experts. It consists of Nazi superscientists (fresh out of hiding from their secret moon base), a CIA agent assigned to help rehabilitate them, and an alien PR expert. But they do have access to advanced technology like invisibility, specialized nanobots (I'm trying to keep them limited as much as possible), and limited teleportation.

I don't get it. If your team has super-scientists coming out of a secret moon base in possession of invisibility and nanobot technology, why haven't they already made some nuclear or proton warheads? Too peacefully minded?

movieman
02-26-2011, 10:00 AM
Too peacefully minded?

Didn't the Nazis discourage fission research because Einstein was Jewish?

Dandroid
02-26-2011, 10:16 AM
well...seeing as the US posture of readiness hasn't changed one bit since the cold war...i would suggest acquiring from China...

backslashbaby
02-27-2011, 06:30 AM
Didn't the Nazis discourage fission research because Einstein was Jewish?

Nah, the Nazis very nearly had the bomb first. The allies got so many great scientists because many were Jewish and didn't care to work for the Nazis when they could leave and work for the allies.

KQ800
03-03-2011, 01:48 AM
I need my characters to steal a nuclear warhead to stop the alien invasion, and they have some futuristic technology at their disposal, but I'm not sure what kind of obstacles they'll run into. Obviously, the security measures for the US nuclear arsenal aren't public knowledge, but I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction for coming up with something realistic.

Specifically, they're trying to get a W80 warhead (from an AGM-129 cruise missile for B-52H bombers) from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. Also, the alien invasion has already begun at this point, so it's likely that a lot of the bombers and warheads are in the process of being scrambled/activated/whatever, which might make it easier or harder. Any ideas? Thanks a lot!

I have no idea how those warheads are stored, but I would guess that your best bet is to find an insider who can assist them. With almost any facility the ppl inside have wondered about weak spots. Perhaps they can convince one person to help them and sugget a weak link in the chain of retrieval, assembly, transport to planes.

Oh, I know that some versions of ammunition bunkers have like a small wall or shallow trench some ten or twenty feet inside the opening, so that you have to shift the warheads from the truck/trolly to another one. This is to prevent you from doing a (very slow) getaway with a truckload.

KQ800
03-03-2011, 11:24 PM
Nah, the Nazis very nearly had the bomb first. The allies got so many great scientists because many were Jewish and didn't care to work for the Nazis when they could leave and work for the allies.

No they didn't. The german research was hampered on several fronts. They never got a bomb design finished. They thought that the critical mass was enourmously larger than it was. They never managed to get a uranium enrichment plant started and their one succesful prototype of a nuclear reactor was placed down a mine shaft which prevented extraction of plutonium.

In short, they were about as far along as the japanese. All theory, no possibility of bomb building.

backslashbaby
03-04-2011, 12:50 AM
Well, that is good to hear. I should have phrased it as the Allies were scared the Germans would get the bomb first (true?). Or stop giving nuggets taught by a certain history professor who has failed me before, lol!